How We’re Dealing with Our Anxiety Right Now
Blair Imani, Emily Oster, Alysia Reiner and more share their tips on staying calm in uncertain times.
Want more M Dash?
Focusing on the Wins
It’s overwhelming to think about everything that didn’t go as planned this year, but there were also so many things that changed for the better. Activist, author, and historian Blair Imani is trying to keep a positive attitude, which often means looking at the bigger picture. “Holding my belief in the power of the people means knowing that we will survive no matter the outcome [of the election],” says Blair. “Let’s be clear: If the election doesn’t go the way we want, that survival will be much more of a struggle. But change doesn’t begin and end with elections, even though it certainly can happen there. Be reassured by the fact that more people have been civically activated than ever before. Let’s consider all of these new voters some sort of victory.”
I remember reading an article at the beginning of the pandemic that said we should all be keeping journals. It would be understandable if you’d want to forget this year, but at the same time, there were moments of grace, or at the very least, lessons we learned that cannot be forgotten. But a journal isn’t the only way to process and memorialize. Actress and activist Alysia Reiner is channeling her anxiety over the past year and the upcoming election into music and poetry. She’s part of the Resistance Revival Chorus, a group that just released its first album, This Joy.
She also wrote this poem:
Make joyful things daily.
Chip away everything else.
Take action today.
Giving Yourself a Break
Okay, here’s the truth: the best way to curb anxiety, especially the kind that smacks you in the middle of the day and feels like a 100 lb. weight on your chest, is to take a minute and breathe. We’ve all been through a lot, and pushing ourselves to do more over the next couple of months might not be what our bodies, brains, or souls actually need. As Dr. Uché Blackstock points out, rest is a fine way to wrap up the year, too. “This year has been an unprecedented one for me, not only because of the pandemic,” says Uché. “I’ve simultaneously experienced significant personal and professional transitions that have brought me both freedom and anxiety. I’ve been intentional about extending myself grace and forgiveness in this moment by carving out boundaries in my work and being committed to prioritizing time for relaxation and creativity.”